Earlier this season, the Virginia Tech Hokies suspended forward Joey Van Zegeren for an alleged incident during one of the team’s practices. Van Zegeren was set to miss four games, but ultimately decided instead to leave the program following the suspension. This allowed for the Netherlands native to finish his final season of eligibility at another institution, and on Wednesday, he decided that the Northwestern Wildcats were the appropriate fit for his talents.
Prior to his suspension, Van Zegeren was averaging 9.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest and had been developing into a reliable post presence.
Van Zegeren is a huge pickup for a Wildcats program that hasn’t qualified for the NCAA Tournament in over 40 years and is in dire need of elite talent. Because Van Zegeren will have already graduated from Virginia Tech, he will be eligible to play right away and should be an instant impact player. Northwestern has been teetering around the .500 mark again in 2014-15, but has floundered in Big Ten play, losing 10 of their last 13 conference matchups.
Still, in college basketball, one single player can make a major difference for a program and Van Zegeren could be that golden goose for the Wildcats. Northwestern’s offense has been primarily driven through the play of guards Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh with the quiet contributions of seven-footer Alex Olah. Throw Van Zegeren into the mix and the Wildcats have four players averaging in double figures with two big men over 6-10.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, the talented big man must use the year off as an opportunity to learn to control his emotions on and off the court. If he’s able to keep his attitude in check, Van Zegeren could develop into a dominating force in the Big Ten and beyond.
*Section Photo credit to Patrick Semansky, Associated Press; Featured Photo (above) credit to DailyHoops